Unusual Latin cooking in the South End
On the Cheap by Jason Weinzimer
In a gently lit storefront spot adjacent to the South End's Villa Victoria
complex, Botucatu offers up home-style cooking from Central America, Brazil,
and Peru that's stick-to-your-ribs comfy. Brightly spiced stews with heaping
plates of rice and beans are hearty and complex, with unusual vegetables and
spices -- perfect for a clientele that seems to be looking either for a taste
of home or for something new.
Seco de cordero ($9.50), a stew of butter-soft lamb and vegetables, comes in a
wonderfully intriguing dark beer- cilantro sauce that proves a fine accent for
the rice and beans. Chicken Xim Xim ($8.95), cooked in a fragrant mix of bell
peppers, tomatoes, and peanuts, has a coconut edge that hints of the Caribbean.
Unexpected tastes and textures are evident throughout -- even a fried-pork
appetizer of chicharrones ($4.95), delicious dipped in the homemade hot sauce,
comes with a heady Andean hominy.
As is typical south of the border, chilis are added by the diner, not the
cook, so wine with your meal is not out of the question. And the list is very
reasonable; a fine Australian shiraz is only $11.95. As for dessert, while the
flan is fine, regulars will tell you not to miss the extraordinary caramel
pudding. Sweet, creamy, and made from condensed milk, it comes with a salty
hunk of cheese to balance the palate.
Botucatu, located at 57 West Dedham Street, in Boston, is open Monday
through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from
11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sunday from 3 to 10 p.m. Call
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